Monday, February 28, 2011

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Pages: 224
Publisher: Harlequin
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge
Release Date: January 18, 2011

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.

When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.

And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough . . .

Stars: 4.5/5
Cover: A-

I was hooked from the very first page. The book started out showing us Bridget as a total (insert other word for a female dog here). She almost dies, and then has to try to right all the wrong that she's done so that she can live.

I reaaaaaalllyyyyy loved this book. Paige Haribson created an awesome world, and when the book was over, I was hoping there'd be a sequel just so I could be re-immersed in Bridget's life (Even though there'd be nowhere for the story to go in the sequel, I think).

The character development in this book was spot-on. Bridget didn't come to realize how hurtful she'd been to other people too fast, but it wasn't too gradual either. 

The supporting characters were awesome. They helped the story along without hindering, and provided some comic relief and uniqueness to the story.

I love the way Haribson writes. As I said up there, she had me hooked from the very first page, and I could not put this book down.

Her writing flows really nicely, and the different elements of Here Lies Bridget were molded together seamlessly.

I liked the ending of this book! It was refreshing, and gave me hope that maybe Bridget really had changed.

The cover to Here Lies Bridget is cute and eye-catching, but (I think) still has some edge to it with the dead body and all.

The Final Verdict:
Here Lies Bridget was one of those books that you can get a moral or life lesson from. It kind of reminded me of A Christmas Carol, with Bridget resembling Scrooge (though she doesn't walk around hating Christmas like he does).

If you haven't read Here Lies Bridget, I definitely recommend it.

FTC: NetGalley

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Unthinkable by Shirley Duke

Pages: 112
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Release Date: October 28, 2010

Omar Phillips is Bridgewater High's favorite local teen author. His Facebook fans can't wait for his next horror story. But lately Omar's imagination has turned against him. Horrifying visions of death and destruction come over him with wide-screen intensity. The only way to stop the visions is to write them down. Until they start coming true . . .

Enter Sophie Minax, the mysterious Goth girl who's been following Omar at school. "I'm one of you," Sophie says. She tells Omar how to end the visionsbut the only thing worse than Sophie's cure may be what happens if he ignores it.

Stars: 2.5/5
Cover: B-

Unthinkable was just over one hundred pages, and felt more like a short story. I felt like I was reading the first draft of Unthinkable, because there wasn't much character development or details --- it was all just plot, and that really took away from the story.

I did think that this book was eerie and creepy, and would be good for reading to a younger sibling to scare them.

As I mentioned above, there wasn't much character development in this book, and I didn't really know what the characters were like, or their background stories.

I could tell that Duke was trying to make Goth-girl Sophie really weird and creepy, but it didn't work for me. I felt like she was trying too hard.

I will admit that not having much focus on the characters did shift your attention to the plot more, and how scary the horror stories were.

It seemed like Unthinkable was the summary of a much longer, better book. I think if Shirley Duke had spent more time to add in more details and background info, I would have enjoyed it more and felt like I was actually in the book.

The ending was my least favorite part of this entire book. Everything was wrapped up in a couple of paragraphs, and it was all facts, and no feeling.

Reading the last pages of the book reminded me of where, at the end of some movies/shows, the "What happens next to the person" is written across the screen in a few sentences. It felt rushed and didn't end the book on a good note for me.

I think the cover did a good job of capturing the eerie-ness of Unthinkable, but it isn't really eye-catching.

Lovely Line:
Omar had barely made it out of the clearing when he felt something rubber knock gently against his face. He looked up into the sole of a shoe. It belonged to a corpse hanging from a noose above. No, it wasn't a corpse. It was still living --- a woman gasping for air and clawing at her neck. "You you, you!" the woman rose a limp arm and pointed it at Omar. "You did this."
(Page 75)

The Final Verdict:
Unthinkable was a not very memorable, but still enjoyable read. It kept my attention, and only took me an hour and a half or so to read.

FTC: NetGalley

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Pages: 464
Publisher: Harper Collins
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge, 350 Page Challenge
Release Date: February 15, 2011

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once. 

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

Stars: 4.5/5
Cover: A-

OMG. I just fell in love with yet another author and book series. From the first page, Courtney Allison Moulton had me cheering for Ellie. I really took my time (well, I TRIED) reading this book because I just didn't want it to end.

Angelfire provided a unique twist to the whole angel/demon trend that's been going around.
It was fast-paced and action-packed, with a little bit of romance mixed in, too. It's a book that I've been recommending to people all week.

I loved Ellie, and how fierce (yet relatable) she was. She was someone I could see myself being best friends with.

Will was the perfect guardian/lover-boy to Ellie. They both had such great chemisty with each other. 

My all-time favorite thing about the characters, though, was the way they interacted with each other. They talked to each other the way my friends and I do, not like an adult trying to sound "hip."

Once I started reading, it was like there was an invisible force connecting me to the book. I just couldn't get enough of Angelfire! Courtney Allison Moulton's writing was smooth, and everything flowed really nicely. She was able to successfully weave romance into the action without making it seem like she was telling two completely different stories.

I love the ending! It ends on a positive note, showing Ellie's strong and powerful side to a reaper. It makes you wonder where Courtney's going to take the story in the sequel, and I really can't wait to find out.

The cover is gorgeous. It's dark and mysterious, and Ellie is showing her "don't-mess-with-me" side, which I LOVE.

Lovely Line:
I shut up when I saw Lauren's face. Her mouth gaped open and her eyes had rolled into the back of her head until only bright white orbs were visible. At that moment I tried to yank away, but her grip was as strong as a reaper's. Power leaked from the sarcophagus, oozed from it, and the energy crawled up my fingers through my arm and into Lauren. Her body jerked once and she released me. She staggered back, and I jumped away.

The Final Verdict:
Angelfire was the type of book that makes you want to hug the author a million times over for writing such a wonderful, original, exciting, and lovable book. It will be a long wait until the sequel.

FTC: NetGalley

Friday, February 25, 2011

Entice by Carrie Jones

Pages: 264
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Release Date: December 7, 2010

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. 
But that's not quite how things have worked out. 

For starters, well, Nick is dead. 

Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla? 

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned...she's Astley's queen.

Stars: 3/5
Cover: A-

Wow. I had such high hopes for this book, and I have to say that I was pretty disappointed. I just couldn't get into it, and it was a really slow read (it took me a week to finish). I wish I would have liked it more, because I wanted to like it. 

I didn't feel a connection to the characters, and I didn't really feel any empathy to way they were feeling or the actions that they made.

Carrie Jones wasn't able to put me under a trance with this installment in the Need series, but that's not to say that I didn't enjoy her writing. 

Entice was action-packed with barely any slow moments in the plot, and she describes action scenes very well, without sounding like a robot.

The ending makes me want to read the next book in the series (hasn't been titled yet, released 2012) so freaking badly! It was an excellent cliffhanger that drives you CRAZY wondering what will happen next.

I love how all the covers relate towards each other. Entice is probably my favorite cover in the series so far because of how enchanting and magical it looks.

Lovely Line:
She raises an eyebrow and keeps hold of my wrist. "You are truly innocent, Miss Zara White. You even smell innocent. No . . . " her words trail off as she thinks. "You smell of innocence and power, unused power."

"And you smell of roses and mean." I rip my wrist away from her, desperate to find Astley and even more desperate to learn about Nick.
(Page 158)

The Final Verdict:
Though I didn't enjoy Entice as much as I was expecting/hoping to, I still recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first two books in the series, and to anyone who wants to continue on with the series.

Read my review of Need, the first book in the series, here.
Read my review of Captivate, the second book in the series, here.

FTC: Won.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (12)

The Ghoul Next Door by Lisi Harrison

Cleopatra de Nile:  New pet snake 
Has Deuce-the hottest guy in school-wrapped
Herve Leger bandage dress, strappy gold platforms

Cleo was the queen bee of the RADs, the normies, and everyone in between at Merston High. But now it's "Frankie this" and "Melody that" . . . these new girls sure know how to get her lashes in a tangle. When Cleo lands a Golden Teen Vogue photo opp for her friends everything seems to be back on track...until they bail to be in some film . . . Frankie and Melody's film! Can't a royal get some loyal? 

Frankie Stein:
Frankie lost her head over Brett once and vows never to do it again. Not that she has a choice. Bekka is clinging to her guy like saran. But when Brett comes up with a plan that could help the RADS live freely, sparks fly. And Bekka will stop at nothing to put out their flames. Even if it means destroying the entire monster community. 

The clock is tick-tick-ticking away. Melody has a serious deadline to save her boyfriend, Jackson, from being exposed by the vengeance-seeking Bekka. But Cleo is making it royally difficult for the normie while threatening her acceptance into their exclusive group. A group that melody suspects she has more in common with than she even thought.

Release Date: April 5, 2011

Okay, this is super-duper exciting. I LOVE Lisi Harrison, and all the books that she's written. I read Monster High back in October, and really liked it, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what will be happening in the sequel!

If you haven't checked out Monster High, make sure to do so! ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Babe In Boyland by Jody Gehrman

Pages: 304
Publisher: Dial
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Release Date: February 17, 2011

When high school junior Natalie--or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper--is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won't give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys
 and girls in ways she never expected--especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?

Stars: 4/5
Cover: A

Babe In Boyland started off perfectly. Jody Gehrman introduced me to the characters and incited the plot really smoothly. Also, even though the decision that Natalie made to go undercover as a boy is completely outrageous, Gehrman made it seem logical and realistic.

But as the book started going on, I felt like I had already read it. There was a scene taken out of the movie She's The Man, where Amanda Bynes gets a soccer ball to the privates. In Babe In Boyland, Natalie is hit by a basketball, but the rest of the scene still plays out exactly the same.

Despite the unoriginality of the plot, it was still a really exciting, well-told, and fast-paced book that really sucks you in and keeps you interested.

The characters were great. They were witty, smart, and all-around fun people to read about. I think they really added to the story in a positive way. 

Not to mention, the Natalie's friends had me laughing out loud in a lot of parts! :)

Jody Gehrman has a way of writing that you can't free your mind of. When you read her books, and you have to go do something else, all you want to do is go back to be entranced by her story.

I loved reading Natalie's final article. Babe in Boyland had a very strong ending, and it wasn't even as cliche as I was expecting it to be.

It was love at first sight. When I saw the cover to this book on GoodReads, my eyes bulged out of my head. It's just so eye-catching, and different than all of the other Young Adult book covers out there. 

Lovely Line:
In the dressing room, we get the giggles at the way the jeans hang below my butt crack. When I find some that are baggy enough to be guy-like but not so loose that they'll end up around my ankles, we pair them with a plain white button-down shirt. At their insistence, I walk up and down the hall outside the dressing room a couple times while they coach me on how to move.

"You've got to slouch more," Darcy says. "You're posture's too femmie."

Chloe nods. "Think gangta, you know? Lean into it."
(Page 57)

The Final Verdict:
I've heard many people say that if you've seen the movie She's The Man, you shouldn't even bother with this book. I disagree. I mean, sure, there are a lot of similarities, but it's still a good read that is quite enjoyable.

I would have given it five stars if not for the unoriginal plot.

FTC: Zoe

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Among The Impostors by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Pages: 192
Publisher: Aladdin
Age Group: Middle Grade
Challenges: N/A
Release Date: October 1, 2002


Luke Garner is an illegal third child. All his life has been spent in hiding. Now, for the first time, Luke is living among others. He has assumed a deceased boy's identity and is attending Hendricks School for Boys, a windowless building with cruel classmates and oblivious teachers. Luke knows he has to blend in, but he lives in constant fear that his behavior will betray him.

Then one day Luke discovers a door to the outside. He knows that beyond the walls of Hendricks lie the secrets he is desperate to uncover. What he doesn't know is whom he can trust -- and where the answers to his questions may lead him . . . 

Stars: 3.5/5
Cover: B

Among The Imposters was a really fast read, though not in the sense where there was so much action that the book just flew by. The book was under two hundred pages, and I felt like the beginning half was pretty slow. 

Luke is an awesome MC, because he tells the story so well and is very realistic. 

I like how relentless and creepy the Population Police are, and the fear that they instill in the third children.

Haddix is a master as the mysterious, creepy storyline. She's really good at making her readers try to figure out what will happen next, and then be completely blindsided by the unexpected thing that does happen. 

I loved the ending to Among the Imposters. It was the best part of the book, and I was completely surprised by what ended up happening. Haddix tied all the loose ends in ways that I would have never guessed, which is what I love about all of Margaret Peterson Haddix's books.

Lovely Line:
Luke looked back at the school, hopelessly. Anyone could easily look out a window and see him, and report him. Maybe they'd just give him more of those meaningless demerits. Or maybe this would make them realize that he wasn't really Lee Grant, that his papers were forged, that by the laws of the land, he deserved to die.
(Page 39)

The Final Verdict:
Though Among The Imposters wasn't the most exciting of eventful book, it was still an awesome sequel to Among The Hidden